In Toronto the seasons are as fluid and as unpredictable as the rain. One moment your wearing shorts and your hair is constatnly frizzy due to the sweltering heat. The next moment, you're wearing sweaters and sipping on tea to try and keep warm. There's never any in-between or happy compromise between the two extreme seasons -- there is simply a small respite from either the extreme cold or the extreme heat. So, I take advantage of each in-between season as soon as the warning signs begin to appear. In this case, as we welcome autumn back into our lives I've decided to change my breakfast habits so that they fit in more with the chill that seems to linger in the morning hours. So without further adieu, I present to you, the ultra simple (and extremely tasty) Oatmeal Apple Crunch. Enjoy!
For as long as I can remember I've loved (and thankfully have always been surrounded by) good food. So, over time it has surpassed being a mere tool of survival, but a key. A key that unlocked different cultures, a connection to my parents' pasts and inevitable my own future. It's been the source of learning foreign languages and ones from my parents' mother tongues, as I learned to pronounce the delicious foods, with intricate names, whose taste and aroma are ingrained in my memory forever.
That's why I have a particular place in my heart for any sort of food related entertainment. Whether it's Master Chef, watching a pizza bake in the oven - the cheese all bubbly as the dough rises and forms a golden brown crust - or baking treats for my family. Recently, TVO (a Canadian TV channel) aired a weekly series called, Eat: The Story of Food produced by National Geographic. I fell upon the docuseries haphazardly, but it quickly captivated my mind, heart, stomach and taste buds.
I will have to watch it again, because I was often distracted by the sizzling, roasting, and frying shown on screen. In between the mesmerizing display, there was an epic tale of how food really is (and was) the driving force of innovation and change all over the world. In each episode, we're plunged into the past and are introduced to unlikely food revolutionaries, who not only changed the way we eat food but the entire course of history. For example, Christopher Columbus and Napolean Bonaparte had huge roles in both.
Narrated and drawing references from modern day food personalities, cooks, authors, scientists and pizza enthusiasts, our journey reaches new heights and flavours with each meal. It reminded me time and time again that the power of food is truly compelling. It brings people together, reminding them through similar tastes and smells that the would is a whole lot smaller than it seems.
For a more interactive tour of Eat: The Story of Food head on over to natgeoeat.com or if you want to find out how to watch an episode or two head on over here.
Yes, you read the title correctly. Yes, it is an animated show, but no, it is nowhere near being simply childish. It's a gripping, dynamic epic full of depth, delights, conflicting destinies and one powerful, kickbut heroine. It's stolen the heart, imagination and attention of my family and I. In only a heartbreakingly short 4 seasons, we are plungd into the world created by the vastly popular prequel, Avatar. No, not the James Cameron blue Naavi who live on a fictional faraway planet Pandora. It's the Avatar of an equally mythical land separated into four parts, the Fire Nation, Water Tribe, Earth Kingdom and Air Nomads. The Avatar? The world's saviour who brings balance and peace, and who is th only individual to master the elemental powers from each part (Earth, Air, Water and Fire).
Introducing Korra, the newest Avatar in a lengthy, several hundred year old lineage who is ready to master her final element air and manages to take the world by storm. Cue the ensuing adventures, new revelations, new friends, which make up one amazing storyline that will take your breath away. Beautifully animated, and emotionally invigorating, here's what I've learned from The Legend of Korra.
1. Keep a cool head
It's easy to see that Korra is a bit of a hot-head. She gets enflamed (literally and figuratively) quite easily, which puts her in many uncomfortable situations. She's the perfect example of all the bad things that can happen when you rush into every situation. As the seasons wore on and she gradually matured, she became more level-headed and began to face her problems in a smart way instead of a forceful one.
2. Good friends are everything
They say that "a friend in need is a friend indeed" and Korra was certainly in need of a helping hand during each season. While she started off feeling out of place and alone, once she stumbled upon a good pair of friends she truly began to blossom. Not only did they form Team Avatar, but they stood by her and helped her defeat the most dangerous of adversaries.
3. Family is #1
As an Avatar, she went from zero to hero upon her arrival to the big city. After achieving celebrity status almost overnight, with the fans came the hecklers and "fakes" who only wanted to use her for their own nefarious plans. Luckily, for every person who wanted to use her abilities for bad, her family was there to either save her or steer her on the right path.
4. Follow your instincts
The choice can be hard and lead you down an unknown path, but ultimately if you're doing it for all the right reasons, it's rewarding. A lesson that Korra learned throughout the entirety of the show as she faced bigger and bigger debacles, and had to start relying on her own intuition in order to save her loved ones (and the rest of the world).
5. Don't compare
Watching all her crime fighting and world saving made me wonder if I could survive doing half the things she does (yes, she's animated, but still). However, in the show I noticed that despite her amazing abilities, no one ever compared their own to Korra's. They focused on what they could do and excelled at it. Korra on the otherhand did compare her skills to those who had already mastered them, causing her a lot of frustration and impeding her learning. When she finally did stop comparing, she realized how awesome she truly was and was able to successfully move on with her mission.
“When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change.” -Avatar Aang
It's a new school and a new year, which calls for all new stuff to match my changing environment. Finally, after months of dreaming of having it done (but never having the time to do it), I had both the will, the way and the time to decorate my room. I've always had a special place in my heart for home decorating. Growing up, I loved watching home makeover shows and competitions, and I still love the home renovation segment of most talk shows. So, naturally after many years of watching decorating miracles unfold in the space of a half hour episode, I was under the false impression that my own project would be as easy, breezy and beautiful. It wasn't. But, it certainly was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about how to make it that way.